Month: November 2019

Lactic Acid! My favorite Alpha Hydroxy Acid for my face!

Lactic Acid, and what you need to know.

Lactic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It is a unique AHA as it exfoliates the skin but also hydrates the skin. Perhaps this is why Cleopatra was well known for taking milk baths, while she likely did not know why it made her skin soft, or made her appear more youthful, she must have noticed the beneficial effects to continue to do so.

Lactic Acid is usually derived from sour milk, however can sometimes be found in vegetable sources, such as fermented pumpkin. Fun Fact: Pumpkin skin care products are super popular, because in using them you get the benefits of one of the top three strongest natural enzymes (the other 2 being pineapple and papaya), in addition to the benefits of naturally occurring lactic acid. Although you probably never even thought about why it worked while you were using that pumpkin mask you love, now you know why it makes you glow! 

Lactic Acid is the must have ingredient in treating hormonal acne, ageing skin, and post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Ageing skin with hormonal acne is a bit more complicated than treating acne or ageing one at a time because unlike teenage acne once we are over 30 our skin is typically drier, so our previous go to’s such as salicylic, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur are too drying and can make hormonal acne worse because the overly dry surface skin can clog the pores more. 

 

Lactic Acid Specifically benefits the skin by:

  1. Exfoliating while hydrating
  2. Stimulating collagen production
  3. Brightens complexion, without causing redness
  4. Lactic Acid peels are mild enough there is typically no down time, however you will instantly see a more glowy appearance
  5. Fades Sun Spots
  6. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles
  7. Being the only AHA gentle enough for use on skin with rosacea or eczema

 

 While exfoliation is important for preventing acne, and premature signs of ageing, we also have to hydrate the skin and increase barrier function. That sounds crazy and complicated right? Yes it is, how do we increase barrier function while removing dead skin cells? Well, it is a complicated answer:

  1. Use a cleanser that contains lactic acid as an active ingredient.
  2. Use an excellent moisturizer that contains small amounts of glycolic acid in addition to lactic acid.
  3. If a Glycolic Moisturizer is too harsh for you (it sure is for me), consider an antioxidant moisturizer to fight free radical damage and prevent inflammation.
  4. Consider enzyme treatments over chemical peels first as enzymes only digest dead cells, and do not go after live cells, while peels have no distinction.
  5. Don’t buy a drug store serum, your serum is the single most important step in your daily skincare regimen, get a good one! A few of my favorites are A vitamin C serum, an AHA serum, or an antioxidant serum.
  6. Exfoliate once every 2 weeks or up to 3 times a week, depending on your skin, while my sensitive skin can only handle gritty exfoliation every 2 weeks or so some of my clients with more durable skin need to exfoliate a few times each week. Remember just because something worked great on your sisters skin, your skin is unique to you, and you might require something completely different. And remember your skin might need a very gentle exfoliant, while someone else might need a medium strength, and someone else might need something more heavy duty,.  Don’t know what’s best for you? Just email me, we will get you set up with a correct routine!  OldMechanicsvilleHealthSpa@gmail.com
  7. Mask at least once per month. I like a good resurfacing lactic acid mask, but my sensitive skin can only handle something like this every once in a while because it can be drying, but it sure does give me a complete resurfacing at home. For a gentler enzyme exfoliating mask at home a papaya/ pumpkin can be used 2 times per month.
  8. Always wear an SPF daily, for the rest of your life. Active ingredients can make you more sensitive to sun exposure, and sun exposure is the #1 cause of premature ageing.

Keep in mind Lactic Acid containing products should be avoided if you are on certain medications such as Accutane or Retin- A, as too much exfoliation can strip your acid mantle (your skin barrier), and cause your skin to be over processed (just like your hair, this is not a good thing!)

 

Ultimately talk to your skin therapist, or dermatologist to determine what is best for you and your skin. Keep glowing, friend!

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Training for a 5 K on a budget!

Photo by Derick Santos from Pexels

Guest Article by: Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com | info@fitsheila.com

Budget-Friendly Ways to Train for Your First 5K

 

If you’ve decided to sign up for a 5K race, you’ve made a good decision. Training for and running this roughly three-mile trek is a great way to quickly get in shape, support charities, make friends and so much more. Plus, 5Ks don’t require you to spend a lot of money. 

 

Whether you’re just starting to run again after a long hiatus, or you’ve never run more than a half-mile in your life, training for a 5K race can be challenging. But training is also the most beneficial part of the whole process, and doing it well is what will help you achieve your goals. That’s why we’ve put together this list of cost-effective tips to help you prepare and make the most of your 5K experience:

 

Gear up through promo codes. 

 

When you start running, having the right gear is critical for staying healthy and avoiding injury. Buying gear can also be the most expensive part of running, which is why it’s important to find deals before you make a bunch of purchases. Look for Rakuten Coupons, promo codes, or cashback opportunities on anything from running shoes to technical socks and clothing. 

 

Sign up as early as possible. 

 

When you sign up for a race early on, it can help motivate you to start training and give you more time to prepare. The act of signing up alone moves you from talking about running a 5K to committing to it. Local races are typically easy to find, registration is usually free or inexpensive (expect anywhere from $5 to $40), and portions often go to charity. If you currently pay for a gym membership, canceling it can help you to cover the cost of registration (and maybe even other costs like gear). 

 

Set a healthy goal. 

 

For your first race, try to think of yourself as the only competition. If you’re not an experienced runner and your race is coming up in a few weeks, it may not be a good idea to shoot for a 20-minute finish time. Instead, focus on improving during training, preventing injury, staying healthy and doing your best. This will set you up for success and help you avoid hefty medical bills. 

 

Find the right training program.

 

A 5K race generally takes 15 to 45 minutes to complete. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a very short amount of time compared to the training leading up to the event, which is why most benefits come from training. If you research online, you can find countless training programs for 5K races—some of which are free. Find one that challenges you, but make sure it’s realistic. Your training program should motivate you to get fit and have fun, not discourage you. 

 

If it’s been a long time since you engaged in any physical activity, shoot for 20 to 30 minutes of jogging/walking three times a week. From there, you can gradually increase your pace and add a day—then two—to your weekly regimen. 

 

Stretch before and after running. 

 

Finally, stretching before and after your runs will go a long way in preparing your body and avoiding injury. As part of your pre-run routine, do dynamic stretching, which includes movements like walking lunges, high knees and butt kicks that help to get your blood flowing and prepare your muscles and joints. After each run, cool down by walking for a few minutes and doing static stretches for your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, hip flexors and groin. You can get ideas for stretching on free apps like Flexibility, Stretching Sworkit and Kaia. 

 

Running a 5K race comes with tons of benefits, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Be sure to get all the gear you need, and register for your race early. Also, make sure your goals and training program are challenging but realistic, and stretch appropriately before and after each run. Most of all, enjoy the journey of preparing for your first 5K, and don’t look back!